Probate is a lucrative and often overlooked niche, especially in the hot, competitive real estate market. When real estate agents talk about inventory shortage, what they mean is that demand (buyers wanting to buy a home) is higher than supply (sellers willing to sell their home).
Probate does not depend on external market forces—people die, heirs inherit their homes and many of them end up selling the property. Keep reading to learn how California real estate professionals and investors can get new probate lead alerts in their inboxes.
What is probate?
Probate is basically a title clearinghouse. Once the original homeowner passes away, the question becomes who is going to step into his or her shoes? The deceased homeowner’s name is on the title and there’s no title company in heaven yet… Hence, if the homeowner did not have a living trust set up, a formal process is required to determine who can legally sign documents and generally act as a new owner. The process is called probate and it is handled by a local probate court to ensure that rightful heirs become the new owners of the house.
Are all probate properties sold in an auction?
No! This is a common misconception. There are two types of probate cases: full authority and limited authority. Full authority cases flow a lot like a regular real estate transaction: contrary to popular belief, they do not require court confirmation (aka overbidding process, aka auction). In addition, there is no requirement to sell the property for a certain price and the entire process is straightforward. From a real estate agent’s perspective, you can sell the house and collect your commission in about 3 months from the probate filing date.
Limited authority cases are different. The heirs have limited authority to act, so every action needs to be reviewed and approved by the judge. This includes the requirement of court confirmation—a form of a public auction where anyone can show up and bid on the property even after the original buyer has submitted their offer. The buyer can be overbid – hence, the name “overbidding process.”
If you are a real estate agent looking to list probate cases, full authority is the probate type you want to go after. If you are an investor looking to buy properties below market value, you want to go after limited authority cases, run your numbers prior to the auction, and then show up and bid on the court confirmation date.
Where can I find probate cases?
In California, probate is public data. You can go to your local probate court and use their computers to look up probate cases. It’s technically free, but you still pay the price by:
- Paying for parking
- Standing in front of slow computers for hours (most court records offices do not provide chairs in an effort to curb data resellers and to keep people from hoggin up the computers)
- Copying data from hard-to-read scanned PDF files
- Organizing your data and doing skip tracing to find petitioner’s contact information
If you value your time, going to court is probably not for you. Mind you, if you want to work in more than one county, you will have to drive to each county’s probate court separately.
What’s the best way to get probate data in California?
Probate Money. For a limited time, we are offering everyone a no-risk, free 7-day trial. No long-term commitment after that – monthly subscription can be canceled any time. No setup fees, ever! Even our lowest-priced plan gives access to probates in 11 California counties, including Alameda, Fresno, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, and San Mateo.
And the best thing – our SaaS (software as a service) solution allows our users to set up unlimited custom alerts. Whether you wish to get notifications about new probate cases in the entire county or just a few cities or zip codes – you can do that with a few clicks. In addition, our users can customize alerts to get notifications about specific types of cases, such as full authority or limited authority, probates filed by a specific attorney, probate cases filed Pro Per (without an attorney), and much, much more.
So, what is the best way to get probates daily into your inbox and beat the inventory shortage in California? Probate Money!« Back to latest posts